Air strikes cripple Yemen's main airport, kill 15 rebel troops

  • AFP, Sanaa
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2015 18:45 IST

Arab coalition warplanes targeting Iran-backed rebels bombed the runway at the Yemeni capital's international airport and killed 15 pro-rebel troops elsewhere in Sanaa, military and aviation sources said Sunday.

On the fourth night of raids against Shiite rebels and allied troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Saudi-led strikes paralysed the airport in the rebel-controlled capital.

"This was the first time they hit the runway" since the campaign began, an aviation source said, a day after UN staff were evacuated from Sanaa. "The airport is completely out of service," he said.

Witnesses reported hearing three loud explosions and seeing a large fire when the air facility was hit around midnight (2100 GMT Saturday).

Meanwhile, overnight air strikes hit the headquarters of the rebel republican guard at Al-Subaha base in Sanaa, killing 15 soldiers, a military official said.

A medic at a military hospital in the capital said it had received 12 bodies and 18 wounded soldiers after the raid.

Air strikes also targeted an airbase in rebel-held Hudaida, in western Yemen, witnesses said, as part of efforts to destroy air defence capabilities.

Other raids targeted a base of the First Artillery Brigade in Saada, the northern stronghold of the Houthi Shiite rebels.

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